Team development: Forming storming norming and performing.

Updated: Nov 12, 2019


According to Bruce #Tuckman, an Irish #Psychologist and Author, groups go through five stages of development: #forming#storming#norming#performing, and in his later writing #adjourning. Given most large corporations are made up of many groups, several overlapping at times with competing interests, this concept is particularly #problematic. As I will discuss, in many instances most groups don't get beyond the storming stage due to organisational #restructuring, staff #retention issues, workplace #systems and competing #priorities just to mention a few.


In the first stage according to Tuckman, groups come together to learn about the #challenges and #goals that lie head. Often at this stage, individuals are given #roles and are explained what each one entails. In most companies, this is referred to as induction, and depending on the circumstances #group members can either be completely #foreign to each other or individuals can be entering an already #established group. In the instance where the group is already established, we can often see a re-entry into the storming stage as I will discuss more further on.


In the second stage of Tuckman's #theory, group members enter the storming stage. This is the most volatile and can see a reduction in #productivity. Often it becomes a war of personalities and a time where individuals often push the envelope to discover where the boundaries lie. For team #leaders this is often a difficult time and many can often find themselves acting in the role of a mediator. In some cases where #recruitment has been sloppy, some teams may never go beyond this stage, and like a #jury, management may need to consider disbanding the group and starting again. It's worth noting however this doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of staff, but rather #mixing new staff together to see how they relate.


In the third stage of the theory, staff move into what is called the #norming stage. This is where members agree on #cultural and performance #norms and hold each other #accountable. Members start to feel as if they are valued and it may become to feel like a family. Team leaders can now start to focus on #diversifying the team's skills and #coaching individuals to reach their full potential.


In the final stage, performing (we will disregard the adjourning stage in this article), staff members are working at their #optimum. Moral is high, staff health is #sustainable. Team members look after each other and input into workplace practices and systems is valued. It is at this point in the team's journey you will find the highest level of job #satisfaction and performance. Sadly though as I will go onto discuss, many corporate teams rarely reach this stage due to the #complexity and dynamic nature of the changing work #environment.



Tuckman's theory, although credible, is somewhat ideal and lacks insight into modern #corporate #structure. In many instances, simply due to restructuring and the constant reforming of teams, many never go beyond the storming stage, and if they do they're often sent backwards when a member leaves or a new one is introduced. Similarly, many #teams never reach the performing stage because management keeps changing the expectations of a team so norming is never established.


So what do we do? How do we get teams to move from the forming stage to the performing stage in such a dynamic, changing and #complex corporate world? What elements can we introduce to recruitment to increase the odds of #building teams that work best #together? And when it comes to #leadership, what attributes should we be looking for in leaders to facilitate Tuckman's #theory in the most efficient and effective way possible? Please leave your comments. I would love to hear your #views.

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Nick Griffin

Aspiring Actor & Comedian
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